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Is Sugar Toxic?

First, read this NYT article on why sugar is so dangerous to your health. I'll wait.

I stopped eating refined sugars a year ago, and within two weeks I lost 10 pounds. I also started feeling healthier almost right away. This is why: Not only does sugar (cane, corn, you name it - refined sugar) make us fat, but it also causes insulin resistance. This makes it a primary cause for diabetes and metabolic syndrome. That means sugar causes heart disease. Worse yet, because of all these effects, it promotes cancer.

There's a terrifying thought, considering that it's in almost every prepared food you find in the grocery store.


Click the image to see the NYT article.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to give up refined sugar for one month. See how much your body responds.

Starting today, I'm giving up on diet soda, as well. Why? One's body sees the artificial sweetener and produces insulin in response... so the most dangerous aspect of sugar - that it promotes these diseases - can't be avoided by using artificial sweeteners in place of sugar. I've been noticing soreness in my guts, what appears from all symptoms to be a gall-bladder issue. Therefore, my body is responding to diet soda by producing insulin and increasing my triglycerides (blood fat) from artifical sweetneners.

*sigh*

I'll report in a month on how that's going. I hope to hear from YOU, too!

Good luck.
Chris

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Comments

( 81 comments — Leave a comment )
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miischelle
Apr. 19th, 2011 06:51 pm (UTC)
YOU CAN DOOO EEET!!!!!
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
clevermanka
Apr. 19th, 2011 06:54 pm (UTC)
This is an amazing and huge step! I'm so proud of you!
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC)
Thank you! Your support helps so much in these things.
(Deleted comment)
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:40 pm (UTC)
I've been thinking about that a lot, too: Eating a lot of animal fat leads to gall-bladder issues in addition to everything else. I've already been cutting down on animal fat as much as I can while still doing paleo. *sigh*

Thanks, and good luck to you, too!
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
(no title) - mckitterick - Apr. 20th, 2011 04:56 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
m_danson
Apr. 19th, 2011 06:58 pm (UTC)
What does giving up refined sugar entail?
emt_hawk
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:24 pm (UTC)
Reading every package of everything you plan to eat, and make sure that it's not included as an ingredient.

Spaghetti sauce often contains sugars, for example.

--Hawk
(no title) - mckitterick - Apr. 19th, 2011 07:45 pm (UTC) - Expand
j_cheney
Apr. 19th, 2011 06:59 pm (UTC)
I've tried to give up the Diet Coke so many times. It's really hard. Good luck!
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:52 pm (UTC)
I know! Giving up cookies and stuff was rough, so maybe this'll be easier....
(no title) - j_cheney - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no title) - mckitterick - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no title) - mckitterick - Apr. 20th, 2011 04:07 am (UTC) - Expand
hippie_mamabear
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
I've done this with great results (lost 30 lbs in just a few months), but it was far too easy to give up on it when i stopped caring a lot about how i looked. I keep telling myself i'll start watching what i eat again, for the sake of my health, but it's really hard to be motivated to follow through. Give me another week to get over all the upcoming holiday stress and maybe i'll be on board again, ha.
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:54 pm (UTC)
I'm so happy with how I look these days - look, abs! - that it's self-reinforcing at this point. Congrats on losing all the weight; at some point, I bet you'll start enjoying how you look more than the food. Luckily, I no longer crave chocolate. Much.
(no title) - hippie_mamabear - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no title) - emt_hawk - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no title) - mckitterick - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:42 pm (UTC) - Expand
I guess it all depends on your willpower. - emt_hawk - Apr. 20th, 2011 07:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
almost forgot - emt_hawk - Apr. 20th, 2011 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
auroraceleste
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:08 pm (UTC)
Honestly, I didn't have the earth-shattering change that many people report. I dunno why, if it's that I wasn't very hooked, or if I have a resilient body that wasn't responding, or if I just am not in tune with what's going on in my body. I do notice, however, that even fruit these days is sickly sweet. I can't drink fruit juice anymore, even the all-natural no-sugar kind, because it's too sweet. I did see a lot of weight loss when I gave it up, too, so I'm not saying it's worthless, just that I'm kinda getting annoyed at all the "OMG I saw the light" statements because it's starting to make me wonder what's wrong with me that I didn't have that.
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:55 pm (UTC)
Ha! You were just lucky, is all.
(no title) - hippie_mamabear - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:01 pm (UTC) - Expand
mongrelheart
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:12 pm (UTC)
That article is right on. Kudos to you for giving up the sugar & diet soda!

I never liked soda much, whether regular or diet. Coffee, on other hand, I can't live without. I no longer put sugar in it, which was quite an adjustment at first.
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:56 pm (UTC)
Thanks! Nowadays, I just use milk as a sweetener. It really does have a lot of sugar, compared to other natural foods, just it's not refined to the point of being grossly sweet.
victoria_lane
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:13 pm (UTC)
I gave up soda two years ago for the final time. Diet soda, of course. I don't drink any sort of soda now.

But I do drink coffee. With sugar.

I've been thinking about the whole cutting out sugar thing for quite some time but I don't know if I can cut it out entirely. Some days, that damn cup of coffee in the morning is the only good thing that happens to me all day.

I used to live for most of my life relatively sugar free. I didn't eat much because it wasn't allowed in my house and I never craved it. It wasn't until the last seven years that I started to eat it. And it shows in the way I look.
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:58 pm (UTC)
Good for you! I hope I can do it without all the cravings. Need to move the diet soda into storage for parties to avoid the temptation.

I use milk to sweeten my coffee. Never much liked sugar in it, oddly! I think it's because that's how my grammie would make it for me. She called it "baby coffee" - more milk than coffee.
(no title) - victoria_lane - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no title) - mckitterick - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:43 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no title) - victoria_lane - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
normalcyispasse
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:19 pm (UTC)
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16280432?ordinalpos=5&itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum

..."Glucose and maltodextrin ingestions resulted in similar increases in blood glucose and insulin concentrations. However, only glucose triggered an early rise in insulin concentrations. Aspartame did not trigger any insulin response. "

The Internet is full of hype why artificial sweeteners are omgbad. However, the places that decry sweeteners as horrible (they cause cancer/brain tumors/insulin resistance/sweet adaptation/harlequin syndrome) are themselves impeachable. I trust sources from unbiased, peer-reviewed third parties. I have yet to see actual, compelling evidence that aspartame, Splenda or other artificial sweeteners cause/contribute to obesity/cancer/etc. In fact, all the studies I've seen indicate quite the opposite.

http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/1calorie.asp

http://www.snopes.com/medical/toxins/aspartame.asp
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:59 pm (UTC)
Huh - thanks for the information. I've seen conflicting reports on this, but haven't been quite sure how to address the gall-bladder issue. Hm.
(no title) - tully01 - Apr. 20th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC) - Expand
(no title) - mckitterick - Apr. 20th, 2011 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no title) - tully01 - Apr. 20th, 2011 07:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no title) - mckitterick - Apr. 20th, 2011 07:23 pm (UTC) - Expand
emt_hawk
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:22 pm (UTC)
First off, that's cool.
Watch out for HFCS, because it's hidden in most products, including lots of breads.

I'm a Type II Diabetic, they found out when I was brought home from the WTC incident, and had a CBC and a chest x-ray.

If you can, have an Hemoglobin A1C test done by your doctor, on a regular basis as well. That will give you an average of your blood glucose for a 3 month period. An alternative would be to monitor your blood glucose using a standard meter, or purchasing a home A1C test. Using the US standards, your blood glucose should produce an A1C of as close to 6 as possible. Doing the A1C means you're not subjecting yourself to the less precise and more frequent blood sugar tests that I do every morning, lunch, dinner, and bedtime.

--Hawk
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC)
Re: First off, that's cool.
Geez, HFCS is EVERYWHERE. Thanks for the information! I've been meaning to watch my blood glucose; a home test that I can run regularly sounds like a great idea.
Re: First off, that's cool. - emt_hawk - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:34 pm (UTC) - Expand
kimberlywade
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:33 pm (UTC)
Hooray! I'm so glad this information is getting out there. I don't eat refined sugars if i can help it, but it's a battle because it's in so many things. I've pretty much given up shopping at conventional supermarkets. Luckily, my town has a large health food store that has made it it's policy not to stock items that contain refined sugar. I can shop there without having to read every label.
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:05 pm (UTC)
Most of my calories each day come from a hot salad I make for brunch: meat, tons of spinach, broccoli, cheese, nuts, raisins, carrots, balsamic vinegar, olive oil. Other than that, I get lovely home-made dinners from clevermanka and eat sardines, nuts, and fruit other times. That's how I avoid refined sugar!
xjenavivex
Apr. 19th, 2011 07:50 pm (UTC)
I support you fully and wish you luck.
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:06 pm (UTC)
Thanks!
holyoutlaw
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:03 pm (UTC)
I've long thought there's no advantage to diet soda over regular, and when I had to cut out regular soda I went first to orange juice and then to water.

There's sugar in the jelly and toast, but unless I have ice cream, that's the only sugar I encounter in a day.

I'm supposed to watch my salt intake, because of Meniere's Disease. That means no cheese, and that's actually been harder than sugar.

A hot tub full of high fructose corn syrup is kind of gross.
mckitterick
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:08 pm (UTC)
I don't know what I'd do if I had to give up cheese. Wow. Don't they make unsalted cheese?

Good on you for going all the way to water! Right now, I'm drinking a big mug of green tea and hoping to get caffeined up for class...
(no title) - holyoutlaw - Apr. 19th, 2011 08:53 pm (UTC) - Expand
saffronhare
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:33 pm (UTC)
This is a continuing challenge for me, and it hits so very close to home. Dad's been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes and mom has had breast cancer. Dietary factors are really the only risk I'm in charge of anymore.

I do know I was losing weight -- particularly that abdominal fat -- when I didn't consume sugar. (Artificial sweeteners make me feel ill.) I slept better, woke better, and had better energy throughout the day.

I keep giving it up and then falling off the wagon. ::sigh:: Every breath is a chance to start over, right?
emt_hawk
Apr. 19th, 2011 08:37 pm (UTC)
Yup. You don't take a walk by jumping from where you are to where you want to be in one shot. You get there by putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes, you get distracted. You just put one foot in front of the other until you get where you were headed.

Hawk
(no title) - mckitterick - Apr. 20th, 2011 04:10 am (UTC) - Expand
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